10. Magic Mike XXL
As filmgoing experiences go, none topped Magic Mike XXL for sheer entertainment value. As a theme and as a mission statement, entertainment seemed to be the key word on the set of this wonderful film. Specifically, that which is geared toward women, for women are the centre of the Magic Mike universe. Too long in the male-dominated world of cinema have the desires of our better halves been routinely denied. Magic Mike XXL sees the issue and grinds on top of it.
10/10 Glistening Abs
9. The Diary of a Teenage Girl
A hilarious, raunchy exploration of a woman’s sexual awakening. The hook is that she initiates an adulterous relationship with her mother’s boyfriend. However, what could have been lurid and amoral instead becomes a beautiful paean for female solidarity and self-respect.
10/10 Animated Penises
8. The Hateful Eight
It is my great shame to admit that I initially viewed The Hateful Eight as Tarantino’s first film of pure entertainment. In my ignorance, I missed one of the subtlest, smartest, and downright angriest scripts of the year. For herein Tarantino explores the festering wound that is race relations in America, and ultimately finds an escape. An escape as hateful and ugly as the film that preceded it.
The Rocky series is near and dear to me, as it is the film series that truly unites the men in my family. We have all grown with Rocky throughout his incredible saga (Rocky V is an infinitely better movie than Rocky IV, by the way) and so to see the defeated, tired Rocky in this film was as heart wrenching as it was utterly effective. However, this is not to take away from the incredible story of Adonis Creed, who more than steps up to the plate in filling not only Rocky’s shoes as the main protagonist of these movies, but those of his absent father, Apollo Creed.
10/10 Tearful Speeches
6. Kingsman: The Secret Service
If it weren’t for The Hateful Eight, this would’ve been the angriest script of the year. Whereas Tarantino’s film explores race, Kingsman is more concerned with the class divisions that inform all of societies ills. The fact that it does so while still providing a pitch perfect, tongue-in-cheek homage to the James Bond films is a testament to the writing team of Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn.
10/10 Anal Jokes
Cinema vérité in the truest sense of the word. Director Sean Baker uses iPhone cameras in lieu of professional devices in an effort to capture the world these two transgender prostitutes inhabit in its rawest form. The miracle of Tangerine is its indiscriminate, and ultimately tender, examination of these characters. It shows that the only thing wrong with their sexuality is the world’s reaction to it. A paragon of independent cinema.
10/10 Car Wash Blowjobs
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
So much has been written about this film already that it’s impossible to mine it for fresh perspectives. We know it is a feminist manifesto. We know that it is a shining beacon to action films everywhere. We know that it is utterly badass. Although we know these things, it does not dull their truth. Perhaps all I can do in this space is tell you to go watch Miller’s other masterpiece, Babe 2: Pig in the City.
10/10 Fire Guitars
3. Cobain: Montage of Heck
A documentary that reminded me exactly how hard Nirvana rocked, and reinforced my love of Kurt Cobain. Here was a man who channeled his pain through his music (a point also noted in this year’s other great music documentary, Amy) and through this intensely personal act, saved the world. It is not hyperbole to say this, for how many youths struggling through their own disillusionment.
10/10 Teen Spirits
2. The End of the Tour
A bias must be made clear before I can continue. I have read and adored David Foster Wallace for years, and his writings have provided comfort for me in times of distress. So, when this film was announced I was naturally both hesitant and excited. Luckily, the film is a beautiful examination of the mystery that was DFW, and thus, ultimately, the looming spectre of depression. For whatever it may lack in depicting the reality of the person, The End of the Tour perfectly captures the idea of DFW; a lonely man crying for empathy among the cacophony of modern society.
1. Inside Out
Of all the films released in the past year, how many of them are now being shown in university classrooms? Inside Out so vividly brings to life complex abstractions that it is now a case study for mental health students. This is the one film, across all cinema, that I can point others towards if they wish to better understand who I am as a human being. It’s all there: the elegantly simple storytelling, the profound metaphor, sadness as empathy, and the true terror of depression. Inside Out is not only my favourite film of the year, it may be a contender for my favourite film of all time.